Skaife responds to van Gisbergen furore
Skaife took public aim at reigning Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen on Sunday evening after the second Newcastle race when the Kiwi refused to engage with media following his victory.
In a segment aired live on Fox Sports, Skaife criticised van Gisbergen for not speaking and falsely inferred that it was related to Triple Eight’s disqualification from Saturday’s race.
That was despite van Gisbergen explaining that his protest was related to pressure to not criticise the Gen3 cars, crucial context that was left out of the on-air broadcast.
Adding to the complexity of the issue was that Skaife – a Supercars Board member – had admitted earlier in the weekend that he had taken David Reynolds to task for being critical over parity in the weeks leading up to the season.
Van Gisbergen later responded to Skaife’s comment on social media where he said it was a “kick in the teeth”.
Skaife has now had his say again, telling News Corp that he has reached out to Triple Eight’s managing director Jamie Whincup and technical director Jeromy Moore in a bid to clear the air.
“I called Jamie and Jeromy to say how do you want me to move forward,” Skaife said.
“I made the offer to fly up to Brisbane. I had a really good open discussion with Jeromy and Jamie, Jamie as the CEO of the business and Jeremy the technical director, to talk about the issue with Shane.
“It was a very open and honest discussion and where we finished was Jamie was going to talk to Shane and we would meet up going into the [Australian] Grand Prix.
“That’s where I left it and I haven’t spoken to them again, we just have a couple of text exchanges.”
Skaife didn’t address or apologise for the lack of context provided in the TV segment, although did admit that he didn’t intend for his comments to be seen as spiteful.
“I normally cop flak from everybody for how much support and how complimentary I am of Shane and his performances,” he said.
“Normally when I compliment him on his performances in the car everyone smashes me, saying, ‘you’re a Triple Eight fan’, or ‘you’re a van Gisbergen fan’.
“I made sure that my comments the other day were not from being a board member or hierarchy in any way from Supercars.
“I was making a comment as a Fox Sports commentator regarding what the expectation is of a champion, of an ambassador for our sport. That was simply it.
“There was nothing spiteful [intended], I certainly didn’t want him to feel like I had kicked him in the teeth for instance. It wasn’t that.
“I was making a point that there was a responsibility and a duty under the normal conditions that we play in and that was all.”